Zubin Mehta to conduct the Australian World Orchestra

June 24, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The legendary Maestro Zubin Mehta will once again lead the AWO as it comes together for two much-anticipated performances in Sydney and Melbourne.


Zubin Mehta conducting the AWO at the Sydney Opera House Photo: Mike Pozarik

Maestro Zubin Mehta is recognised as one of the world’s greatest Richard Strauss interpreters, and for these concerts, he will conduct the Australian World Orchestra in performances of three of Richard Strauss’s most famous tone poems – Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche and Ein Heldenleben.

Zubin Mehta confesses: “In truth, I became a conductor because deep down I wanted to conduct Richard Strauss’s tone poems.”

He proclaimed the AWO ‘one of the top ten orchestras on earth’ after conducting The Australian World Orchestra(AWO) in 2013, and in 2015 he invited the AWO to perform with him in India.

Announcing the concerts, AWO’s Artistic Director, Alexander Briger, said: “Following the recent challenges we are so delighted to be coming together as an orchestra once again led by one of the world’s most extraordinary conductors.

Zubin has a deep connection with the AWO musicians, forged first here in Australia, and then when we toured India with him and embarked on a number of special programs throughout India with his Mehli Mehta Music Foundation.  There is no better way to celebrate the joy of music-making than for the Australian World Orchestra’s wonderful musicians to be performing the Richard Strauss tone poems conducted by the world’s finest interpreter of Strauss.”

It has been said that what Shakespeare was to the sonnet, Richard Strauss was to the tone poem.  A tone poem (sometimes referred to as a ‘symphonic’ poem) is a piece of orchestral music, usually performed in a single, continuous movement, whose inspiration is sourced from a poem, short story, novel, or other (non-musical) source.

Strauss’s tone poems are among the most striking works of the orchestral repertoire.  The descriptive power of these compositions is intended to both inspire and move listeners, taking the concept of realism in music to an unprecedented level. Strauss’s unique expression is why his tone poems are widely regarded as the pinnacle of this orchestral form.

The Australian performances follow the Australian World Orchestra’s inaugural UK performances at the Edinburgh Festival (19 Aug) and BBC Proms (Aug 23) as part of the UK|AU Cultural Exchange. The UK concerts will be conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta, with Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg as special guest, singing Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées, the orchestration of which was commissioned by the AWO from Brett Dean in 2015.

The AWO’s musicians are Australians drawn from the world’s finest orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw and Australia’s orchestras and ensembles. The immense talent, coupled with its grand, award-winning sound, has seen many of the world’s finest conductors including Sir Simon Rattle and Ricardo Muti lead the orchestra both in Australia and overseas. The Australian World Orchestra has been hailed by audiences and critics alike as charismatic, inspiring and one of a kind.

Zubin Mehta was associated with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for 50 years and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Hebrew University Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute.

The Hebrew University has named a wing of the Musicology Department after him and his late father, conductor Mehli Mehta. In 1991, he was awarded a special prize at the ceremony of the Israel Prize presentation, and he is the recipient of the 1995-6 Wolf Foundation Prize for Music. He is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv. During his farewell IOP concert, Zubin Mehta confessed that he cannot speak Hebrew.

Concert dates

Wednesday 31 August • Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

Friday 2 September • Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House


Bookings & Information: www.australianworldorchestra.com.au

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